Memorial Project Superintendent Joanne Hanley's response to some of the people who carbon-copied her in on the 11/12/2007 blogburst letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. As usual, she hides behind the skirts of the families, saying how offended they are that anyone would try to stop a terrorist memorial mosque from being planted on the graves of their murdered kin. I will blog another time about the letter from the family group that Hanley references, and will only say now that some of the family members whose names are affixed were never consulted, and at least one is very angry about it.
From: Joanne_Hanley@nps.gov [mailto:Joanne_Hanley@nps.gov]
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 7:37 PM
Subject: Re: Every particle of the Crescent of Embrace remains completely intact in the planned Flight 93 Memorial
Thank you for sharing your concerns with me about the design of the Flight 93 National Memorial. You can be assured that the National Park Service (NPS) is committed to a national memorial that conveys the full honor due to the heroes of Flight 93, building the memorial, and continuing to commemorate those heroes who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
This response has two parts. The first part describes the process used to select the memorial design, the people and groups involved in the decision-making, and the steps the National Park Service took when concerns were first raised about the design. The second part is an attachment, a letter sent on November 9, 2007 to Congressman Tancredo from the Families of Flight 93. The group seeks to honor their loved ones--the people lost on the flight--and their letter describes their pain and the view that blogger Alec Rawls presents "preposterous opinions that the designer and design are Muslim or Islamist conspirators who seek to memorialize murderers. Nothing could be more offensive to the Families whose loved ones died so that folks like Mr. Rawls can be free to expel such hurtful and unsubstantiated accusations."
The National Park Service is aware of concerns about the memorial design and took steps last year to investigate the issue. In doing so, the NPS consulted with university and religious scholars, all of whom concluded that the memorial design does not imply or depict religious iconography. In light of those findings, the National Park Service and all three of its partner organizations continue to support the final design for the Flight 93 memorial.
It may be helpful to understand the partners and the design selection process. Four organizations partnered to organize and implement the process for choosing a memorial design. The Families of Flight 93 is a nonprofit organization of family members of the passengers and crew who died on the flight. The Flight 93 Advisory Commission was created by Congress to prepare "a report containing recommendations for the planning, design, construction, and long-term management of a permanent memorial at the crash site." The Flight 93 Memorial Task Force serves as the Commission's operational arm and includes Flight 93 family members, community members, first responders, educators, and other local, regional, and national stakeholders. The National Park Service is the federal agency charged with administering Flight 93 National Memorial.
These four partner organizations agreed that an open design competition would be the most inclusive, transparent, and democratic way to explore a range of designs for the memorial. The competition was open to design professionals, as well as to the public, and was conducted in two stages with two separate juries. The stage I jury analyzed approximately 1,000 submissions and forwarded five finalist designs to the stage II jury.
The five finalist designs were exhibited for public comment in Somerset, Pennsylvania, and on the project website. The stage II jury, which was composed of noted design professionals, Flight 93 family members, and community leaders, reviewed the public comments and evaluated the designs against the memorial's mission statement. By a majority, the stage II jury voted in favor of Mr. Murdoch's design and then, to reinforce their support of the design, took a second, unanimous vote to support the design created by Mr. Murdoch.
After the winning design was announced, the NPS received some inquiries from the public about what they perceived as Islamic symbolism in the memorial design. While the architect, Mr. Murdoch, had not intended any such symbolism in the design, he nonetheless refined aspects of the design in response to the perceptions.
The most prominent refinement was in the treatment of the naturally occurring bowl-shaped landscape feature. The design now surrounds that area with a circle of trees which is broken in two places - the location which marks the flight path as it breaks the circular continuity of the bowl edge, and the Sacred Ground where the crash occurred. The locations of the two breaks in the circle are based on the flight path and crash site of Flight 93.
Letter from the Families of Flight 93 to Congressman Tancredo
(See attached file: FLNI Families of Fl 93 Ltr to Congressman Tancredo
Additional information can be found on the park web site:
I thank you for your interest in the project.
Joanne M. Hanley, General Superintendent National Parks of Western Pennsylvania Allegheny Portage RR NHS, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill NHS, Johnstown Flood National Memorial
109 West Main Street, Somerset, PA 15501
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